Whether you were planning on having your pup get pregnant (perhaps you’re breeding or you just wanted a litter of puppies for your own) or your pooch accidentally got pregnant, it stands to reason that you want to know how long it will take to meet those little puppies. Knowing when to expect those puppies will allow you to make the proper preparations ahead of time.
Gestation Period of Dogs
How long are dogs pregnant for? It’s much shorter than the 9 month gestation period for humans; in fact, it’s only about 9 weeks (or 67 to 75 days from the date of conception to birth). In that short period of time, dogs can produce between 3 and 12 precious little bundles of joy! Amazing, isn’t it?
Signs of Canine Pregnancy
Suspect your dog is pregnant but aren’t 100 percent sure? Some of the signs that are indicative of canine pregnancy include:
- Behavior changes. An expectant canine mom will certainly exhibit personality changes. She might become extremely clingy or she could become reclusive. Though changes in disposition will vary, it’s almost certain that a soon-to-be-canine-mom will act a lot different than she normally does.
- Changes in appetite. Like humans, a dog’s appetite will also change when she is pregnant. She might eat a lot more dog food than she normally does, or she may eat less than usual. She might even experience cravings for specific types of dog treats, dental chews, or chew toys for dogs. If you notice that your pup is hungrier than she usually is, make sure you fill her dog bowl with a premium quality wet dog food or dry dog food and that the treats you are offering her are safe (not that you wouldn’t normally do that anyway).
- Physical changes. Of course, a pregnant dog’s body will experience changes, too. Those sweet little puppies she is carrying will make her belly bulge, but that won’t happen until the pregnancy is well-established and she is nearly due. Long before that, however, her nipples will change. They’ll become darker in color and they’ll become enlarged in preparation for nursing. These changes can become visible by around the second week of gestation.
If you notice any of these signs, take your pup to the vet to confirm her pregnancy. A vet will perform tests to determine if, in fact, your dog is going to be a mama.
Caring for a Pregnant Dog
Canines can pretty much care for themselves when they are expecting, so caring for a pregnant dog really isn’t much different than caring for her when she isn’t pregnant. But, with that said, there are some things you can do to ensure your pooch is healthy and comfortable, and that the pups she delivers will be healthy, too.
Keep pests away with a flea treatment for dogs. Pests carry all types of diseases that could potentially affect the puppies. Offer her probiotics for dogs, as they can help to keep her regular and keep her puppies healthy. A pregnant dog’s nutritional needs change; specifically, she’ll need more fatty acids, like DHA and EPA, so offer her a dog food brand that contains these nutrients or offer her high quality fish oil for dogs. Also, make sure that she has a comfortable dog bed and that she has access to a secure location, such as a dog crate, where she can retreat to when she needs some alone time or when the puppies are about to make their appearance.
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